Barrowman all on show

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DO YOU like musicals?
Are you a fan of John Barrowman?
No, I’m not questioning anybody’s sexuality, the reason I ask is ‘entertainer’ John Barrowman‘s self-titled new album sees the ‘personality’ covering a selection of songs from the shows.
There are covers of tracks from Copacabana, Cats, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia! and more – although the only cover I’d like to see here is the final curtain fall.
Because these overproduced, pointless recordings are so cheesy they should come with a warning for the lactose intolerent – you can visualise Barrowman’s smug face churning these out in the studio as you listen.
So basically, if you like musical theatre and Barrowman’s smug face, this is the album for you.

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Dead Presidence

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I TAKE exception to experimental Brooklyn six-piece Excepter‘s new album, Presidence.
Imagine if Animal Collective were a collective solely of mutilated, suffering animals…
Opening track in earnest “The Anti-Noah” is 10 minutes-plus of nothingness, Teleportation: KAL is like someone having a mental breakdown while trapped inside the workings of a traction engine, while the weeping and wailing of Teleportation: GOL is how I imagine purgatory sounds.
Only occasionally does music break out – such as the unnerving When You Call.
Now if you’re going to create psychedelic, ambient noise, fine – but why you’d want to create an ambiance as deliberately unenjoyable as this, I do not know.

Animal testing

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THE revered experimental psychedelic indie act Animal Collective – the band behind one of 2009’s most critically acclaimed albums, Merriweather Post Pavilion – re-release their 2003 album Campfire Songs next week.
Whoopee, right?
Well, not really.
I know I risk the wrath of many, many people with this, but Animal Collective’s releases are, collectively, a load of rubbish.
Over the course of Campfire Songs‘ five tracks and 40-plus minutes, I counted two songs, at a push.
It sounds like, and for the most part is, a chord being played repeatedly on an acoustic guitar outside while some people moan and make inexplicable “jingjingjing” noises, and occasionally mumble some lyrics.
And anyone who disagrees with me should be forced to live in the woods with only a piece of flimsy canvas for shelter – they’d probably like it anyway.

Can someone please chase Fox down a hole?

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SHE’S a celebrity? Get out of here.
Topless model-turned-singer-turned-reality TV contestant Samantha Fox probably hoped to capitalise on renewed interest off the back of her visit to the Australian jungle with a new Greatest Hits.
But this compilation is a lot like her fleeting appearance on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here – there’s about five minutes of retro kitsch appeal before it all gets grating.
That five minutes is of course her biggest hit Touch Me (I Want Your Body) – which is followed by an onslaught of dire ’80s pop-by-numbers that just gets worse and worse.
By the forgotten likes of Naughty Girls (Need Love Too) and Love House I was losing the plot – yet this latest compilation has the option of a second disc of rarities and previously unreleased material.
Ultimately Fox will be remembered for two things – and neither of them are on show here.

Next We Bring You The Fire alarms

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AFTER listening to Next We Bring You The Fire, I have a sign for Signer – a stop sign.
Maybe even a rude hand gesture as well.

Because the 10-track synthesizer extravaganza from electronic New Zealand artist Signer, real name Bevan Smith, is a self-indulgent waste of time.
It’s pretty much the sound of a man mumbling in soft tones while pressing down too many keys at once on his organ – half of the time without the saving grace of a beat.
But if you think this is bedtime music, think again – because out of nowhere Signer awakes from his own slumber with penultimate track Don’t Be A Forest Cow.
Will Signer please sign off.

One is not amused

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IF LOVE On An Oil Rig is anything to go by, I won’t be applying for membership to Victorian English Gentlemens Club anytime soon.
Because the album, the Welsh three-piece group’s second, is like an in-joke that I just don’t understand.
It’s deliberately obtuse but not funny, and the punk indie rock music on show is wonky to the point of being unlistenable, with only The Venereal Game actually passable as a standalone track.
Even the band’s name, with its missing apostrophe, gets my dander up.
One is not amused.

Strange and rubbish

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IMAGINE if a well-meaning friend offered to make you a tape of an old CD he had found of obscure avant garde IDM artists in the vein of Four Tet.
“Great,” you’d say. “I’ll listen to that in the bath.”
But when you slip into the bathtub, having pressed play on the cassette, you realise that you friend’s CD had been skipping while the recording was made.
“Darn,” you might say. “I can’t listen to this now.”
But then, to compound matters, the player started eating the tape of the skipping CD, resulting in a frankly hellish outpouring of irritating looping noise.
To escape the non-music, you quickly duck your head under the water – and the resulting sound is the closest thing you will ever get to Eric Copeland‘s new album Alien In A Garbage Dump.
That’s right, Alien In A Garbage Dump is both strange and rubbish.